Assuring the BASIC Bank Limited authorities of providing temporary fund to address its fund shortage, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Thursday directed the bank high ups to outline a specific work plan to make the bank profitable again.
“I will arrange fund for the BASIC Bank on temporary basis, but not on long-term basis and will see how you (bank authorities) will operate it. But, before that you (bank authorities) must submit a work plan before me on how to take this bank into a much bigger arena,” he said.The minister was addressing a discussion at the bank’s conference room at Sena Kalyan Bhaban in the city’s Motijheel area.
This is the first visit of a finance minister to the state-owned commercial bank since its inception in 1989.
BASIC Bank Chairman Alauddin A Majid gave the welcome speech at the meeting also addressed by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Senior Secretary of the Financial Institution Division Md Ashadul Islam, Additional Secretary to the Financial Institution Division Fazlul Haque and BASIC Bank Director Mamun Al Rashid.
BASIC Bank Managing Director Md. Rafiqul Alam made a power-point presentation on the overall operations of the bank.
Terming the cumulative loss of BASIC Bank as huge, the Finance Minister said the government would provide support to the bank to make it profitable again. He also informed the BASIC Bank authorities that the government would take decision to close down those branches of the bank which would incur losses for the three consecutive years, including the current year.
“I’ll ask each and every branch of this bank to try to make profit,” he added.Referring to the exit policy of the government to address the default loan culture, Kamal said already some 380 loan defaulters of this bank have applied to pay off their debts and it’s a good sign.
He also noted that it would also be a huge gain for the loan defaulters as they would get to pay off their loans in 11 years time with a 9 percent interest rate and with 2 percent down payment.
The Finance Minister also directed the officials of this Bank to restore communication with the old clients instead of looking for new clients as well as try to return back the good time of this bank through their wisdom, knowledge and experiences.
“I’m giving you a lease of life. If you accept it, then accept it gracefully and with a commitment to deliver,” he said directing the bank authorities to submit the list of loan defaulters before him.
Turning to the past irregularities of the BASIC Bank, the Finance Minister informed that a special audit is being carried out at the bank.
He also cautioned that if officials of this bank are found involved in the irregularities, they would be held responsible and would surely get punishment.
He said the loan defaulters who would try to pay off their loans would be given scope, but who are intentionally not paying the loans would be found out.
Mentioning that the BASIC bank incurred a loss of Taka 354 crore in the last year, Kamal said there is a need to restructure and revisit the operations of the bank to minimize its losses.
NBR Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan suggested the Bank high ups for providing loans to reliable clients as well as to address the inefficiency of the bank officials through proper training. Financial Institution Division Senior Secretary Md Ashadul Islam hoped that this bank would be able to make a turnaround within a year with the best efforts of the bank officials.